Mary Rejoicing, Rachel Weeping

1824 (oil on canvas), Cogniet, Leon (1794-1880) Musee des Beaux-Arts, Rennes, France / Giraudon / The Bridgeman Art Library

by Wendy MurrayA disastrous event that took place in Bethlehem related to Jesus’ birth that is also part of the picture of Christmas. Herod ordered the slaughter of all the boys two years old and under. Yet we tend to allow sleigh bells, evergreens, and shopping trips to push it out of view. It is nevertheless, in all its brutality, what Christmas is about: a Savior's "invasion" (to borrow from C. S. Lewis) and confrontation with the forces of evil.Matthew's narrative of Christ's b … [Read more...]

What Jud Wanted to Say: My Tribute to Jud Carlberg

Jud Carlberg

By Wendy Murray Over these many months, since last April, I have been working closely with the administration at Gordon College to complete a book in celebration of their 125th Anniversary. The book, titled Leading the Way, highlights the legacy of Gordon College's eight presidents. It had been my idea to showcase the scholarship and vision of these leaders, scholars, and theologians in the context of the American religious landscape of their time.This assignment offered me the … [Read more...]

The Mayflower Compact, America’s First Written Governing Document

MayflowerCompact

 The Mayflower Compact was fashioned by the Separatists, or Pilgrims, fleeing religious persecution under King James of England. They traveled from Holland (where they had been displaced from England) aboard the Mayflower in 1620 along with adventurers and tradesmen. The document was signed aboard ship on November 11, 1620 by  41 of the ship's 101 (male) passengers while the ship was anchored in what is now Provincetown Harbor at the northern tip of Cape Cod. They had planned on settling in Virgi … [Read more...]

Crime & Punishment in Plymouth Colony

NC Wyeth Illustrates cover for Addison Irving Bacheller (September 26, 1859 – February 24, 1950), American journalist and writer who founded the first modern newspaper syndicate in the United States.

By Wendy Murray Thanksgiving approaches and, amid giving thanks, the sojourners at Plymouth had plenty of problems to contend with in forming their system of governing in the precarious and hostile environment they confronted upon landing on Cape Cod. The following information, which delineates the crimes and judgments they rendered, comes from the website Mayflower History, whose research is gratefully acknowledged.Records from Plymouth Colony's earliest courts have actually survived a … [Read more...]

Think Before Interrupting

lG K Chesterton

Talk ought to be sacred because it is so light, so tenuous, so trivial, if you will; so frail and easy to destroy. Cutting short its life is worse than murder; it’s infanticide. It’s like killing a baby that’s trying to come to life. It can never be restored to life . . . . A good light conversation can never be put together again when it’s broken to pieces; because you can’t get back all the pieces. The Paradoxes of Mr. Pond, by G.K. Chesterton … [Read more...]

The In-between Times

Frederick Buechner

By Wendy MurrayOn the days go, one to the next. We rise in the morning and look out the window. We check the weather. We make decisions about the day. Maybe we ask God for guidance in this, maybe we don't. Maybe we ponder in our hearts whether God influences our decisions with or without our consulting him about it. All day, in each moment, we are forging the destiny that will ultimately claim us, day-to-day.  Maybe we reflect: How often is our time badly spent! What becomes of our d … [Read more...]

Who Is the *Real* Francis of Assisi? A New Book Hasn’t Found Him

Jon's Sweeney's new book on Saint Francis

A Review of When Francis Saved the Church, by Jon Sweeney(This review is part of the Patheos Book Club.)  by Wendy MurrayWhen I was living in Assisi, Italy to work on my book about the life of Saint Francis of Assisi -- titled A Mended and a Broken Heart -- a friar and scholar with whom I regularly consulted exhorted me with a statement I have never forgotten: He said, “Francis is an ocean--don’t say we caught him.”In this way I am always curious to read new … [Read more...]


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